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tv   BBC Newsnight  WHUT  July 28, 2012 7:00pm-7:30pm EDT

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>> this is "bbc newsnight." >> funding for this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu, newman's own foundation, shell, and union bank. >> at union bank, our relationship managers work hard to understand the industry you operate in. working to and nurture new ventures and help provide capital for key strategic decisions. we offer expertise and tailored solutions in a wide range of
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industries. what can we do for you? >> at shell, we believe the world needs a broader mix of energy. that is why we are supplying cleaner-burning natural gas to generate electricity. it is also why, with our partner in brazil, we are making by a fuel made from renewable sugar cane. >> in a minute, mom. >> let's broaden the world's energy mix. let -- let's go. >> the opposition figures who hope to will a post-assad syria. cutting edge technology being deployed. >> with the video, they can see her technique and the individual strokes going into the turn. >> and a new weapon.
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>> and then they threw them in the street. >> meanwhile, back in aleppo, the government is preparing serious fire power for a counterattack.
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fighting a war costs money, and the rebels do not have much. >> in the 24 hours, we estimated the ammunition that we used was about $1.2 million. >> rebel commanders are holding a crisis meeting, desperate to find ways of getting more cash and weapons. they have had little luck from the main opposition group aimed at the syrian national council, funded partly by saudi arabia and qatar, countries committed to arming the rebels. i have been told by one senior syrian national council figure that there was a pause in arms shipments a few weeks ago because mistakes had been made. weapons were passing to people who were not real revolutionaries. they were, he said, dealers who the fear that weapons might fall into the wrong hands, including terrorist hands, is one reason why cia agents are now known to be operating in the area, trying
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to vet arms recipients, collaborating the turkish military whose role in the struggle is much more active than is officially admitted. down the road, a turkish military watchtower. one syrian rebel commander told me he had received guns distributive from a turkish army truck parked nearby, right by the border fence. a local mp from turkey's main opposition party has heard similar stories from villages all over the border. >> they told us that two or three times a week between midnight and 5:00 in the morning, there are many buses and lorries bringing boxes. sometimes, they are escorted by military vehicles. we are getting information that they are bringing weapons. it is not possible that they could be done without the knowledge of government. >> according to him and other rebels, those go mainly to
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italians that support the muslim brotherhood. they say it is the dominant force in the syrian national council, and units like his, which are not islamist, are left out. >> there are other parties who are apart from this. they are not doing anything. they are getting money from the other countries. they have money, and when you have money, you have power. >> they deny any discrimination in the use of funds, but it raises questions for western powers, which will not pay for arms, but to help the syrian opposition in other ways. britain, which last year unambiguously back the main libyan opposition group, the national transitional council, now much more gingerly describes its would be equivalent, the syrian national council, as just a not the legitimate
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representative of the syrian people. british government sources deny they have any concerns of a possible over the influence of the muslim brotherhood in the council, but they are constantly urging it to be as inclusive as possible of all syrian communities and political groups. as for turkey, its border crossings with syria are now closed, something the government here, led by a sony-islamic party, is encouraging chaos by trying to bring down the secular assad regime dominated by the minority and backed by shia iran. >> this is part of our prime minister's great middle east project to redesign the region. what began in geneva and egypt has now got stuck in syria, but next will come iran here to make it easier to attack, they want a new government in syria, so they are sparking a sectarian war. >> mahmoud has the same fear of
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sectarianism. >> unfortunately, they are the supporters of the regime and the people who are fighting now, the syrian people. the syrians will forget that soon. there is going to be retaliation. i have no doubt. >> the end of the regime, he is sure, will not be the end of the struggle, but he does not want to give up fighting. >> winning a medal at the olympics will hang on just a few hundredths of a second, so what is it that is elite athletes the edge they need for success? ahead of the games, we had exclusive access to athletes and world-class scientists and engineers working with them to try to find out if it is the technology around them, there -- their genes or something else.
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here is our science editor. >> striving to reach the top. we expect our athletes to be almost superhuman, so is it as simple as being the best, or is there more to the performance? what is it that sets them apart? what is it that gives them the edge? mcclaren does not just do cars. at their technology center west of london, a formula one effort is being applied to help britain's top athletes. with performance across many sports reaching a peak, winning depends on the smallest of margins. fine-tuning is what mcclaren does best, and it is this know
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how that the team is tapping into. and many athletes are monitored every day in a training environment as opposed to being in a lab, and that continual collection of information helps us understand how athletes are developing over time. it is really about data. we talk about the only competitive sustainable advantage is to learn faster than the opposition. what technology has given us is a platform to better understand individuals and to better intervene so they can develop much more effectively for their event. >> live measurement of formula one cars during a race or engine performance and the drivers physiology means teams can make almost instantaneous decisions about tactics. the technology is closely guarded, and maclaren is equally secretive about exactly how they have helped team gb.
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but it is out in competition that it matters most. the key is the rapid development of mobile technology. this makes instantaneous feedback possible right at the forefront. teams have access to more than 1 million pieces of data on thousands of races by swimmers from over 60 nations said they can begin to see how they can compare with rivals over the years. qualifiers last month, the athletes were on edge. this is a second round of the olympic trials for british winners. 37 places have already been filled with 15 left to compete for. for these swimmers, every hundred of a second recounts. she has already earned her place at the london olympics.
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but she is being watched so they can give any last-minute weeks. >> what they are looking at now is first, they will look at the video. with the video, they can see her technique and the individual strokes going into and out of the turn. what they have done already is they have looked at the analysis, and they are looking at the number of strokes per minute, the distance between strokes, and her velocity through the water, particularly coming into the beginning and end of the race. >> you were not aware of them here? >> no. >> stacey herself seems less interested in the high tech analysis. watching the video tells her the most. spectators, too, can be wary of the role technology plays in an
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athlete's performance. >> people like to see in any sport that it is the athlete in front of them that is winning and not some spurious piece of technology. the world governing body, although they like technology and what technology to keep exports of live -- it cannot be the dominant fact -- dominant effect. >> the british olympic swimming team is now in lockdown. craig is the world junior champion for 100-meter breaststroke. >> that was just like a push off? then his coach wants to work on his weak points. >> when he qualifies for the olympics, he was probably last after the shot, so the first 10 or 15 meters, he was one of the slowest. by the time he got down to 50 meters, he was second fastest. obviously, if we improve the start to the point where he is one of the best at the start, he
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will probably be one of the best swimmers in the world. >> today, sheet and craig have scientists from the university of southampton poolsides to help -- she and craig. the measure speeds through the water and a way to turn, beating it back to him straight away while the memory is still fresh enough that he can still almost feel the movement in his body. that it can make a difference between winning an olympic gold medal at not winning an olympic gold medal. you are talking at the olympics of such small amounts between first, second, certification, fourth. you know, sometimes it is 0.01 of a second, so anything you can improve can help that. >> they say how high you can jump as a child, quite a lot of that variation will be downstream. it can be as much as 80% of the variation in that event.
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you require an increasingly rare combination of genes, but if you did not get to train, never get the right nutrition, you would never read -- reach that potential. back at the english institute of sport, they spend millions making sure the latest in sports science and medicine reaches all a bit and paralytic catholics -- olympic and paralympic athletes. >> we know some individuals seem to have a higher risk of certain types of injury. if we can better understand the risk of injury from an individual athlete due to their genetics, we can tailor their conditioning program to prevent injury but also inform their medical program to actually manage and treat injury. >> that research involved work with the military as well as
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athletes, but to some, the idea of testing for genes to help spot the perfect soldier or the perfect athlete is a chilling one. >> i think there is a danger, not least because it is not yet an exact science, and if we try to define it in that way, we could be missing out on the possible champions, but perhaps more important -- it raises some big ethical and social issues. for many people, purchase a patient in sport is about fun. it is about healthy lifestyle, and the last thing we or anyone else should be doing is screening people into or out of particular sports based on genetic variations. >> in the end, being the best is about so much more than data collection, fine-tuning, and genetic testing. >> let's just imagine that you have screened all the males in the country at the age of two. you have identified the next beckham genotype.
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does that person wants to play, enjoy playing? do they also have the set of genes that will lead them to discover alcohol and cigarettes at the age of 11 and stock trading? none of these are predictable. >> if the winners emerge from the mass of people like you and me, perhaps that is the key. they are essentially the same as us, but different enough to set them apart. after all, if they were not, the rest of us would have nothing to aspire to. >> in cancer therapy, the need for new treatments is ever- present. one of the most exciting areas of new research is immunotherapy, which uses the body's defenses to fight the disease. for some patients, it might offer the hope for a cure. >> most of us know someone who has been there.
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waiting to see if it is cancer, waiting to see if the cancer is gone, waiting to see if it has come back. even the best treatments can buy only a few months extra time. now, scientists think what approach could lead us to our best hope of cure, but the money to make that leap is drying up. ben pedro and his wife have flown in from australia. he was diagnosed with melanoma in 2010. last year, he found it had spread to his brain. now his body has developed resistance to conventional drugs. >> the key thing is two or three hours after the treatment, you get a temperature. typically 39, 40. you start to shiver and shake. >> he is about to try a new approach, one that lists the power of his own immune system.
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he is only the third person to try this pioneering new treatment here in the u.k. >> the goal is to look for something with the promise of a more durable response or more complete -- hopefully, a complete response that can last for several years, if not, you know, indefinitely. the therapy that is being developed is something that does hold the promise. so i am here, putting my hand up for it. >> this is a melanoma cell being attacked by two killer t-cells, which are in the body's front- line defense. scientists want to use their power to fight cancer. i have already found they can do this by stimulating their production with drugs. now they are working on a new approach -- taking killer t- cells out of the patient and
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growing more. creating an attacking army that can be safely rejected. this whole approach is called immune therapy. stan was diagnosed in 2004. chemotherapy help shrink his tumor, but by 2006, it had grown again. >> it shows again a large tumor in the liver there. >> professor hawkins in manchester began treating him five years ago with a drug that takes the breaks off his own immune system, one of a handful of drugs to show remarkable promise -- takes the brakes off. >> this is your scanner from five years ago. that is the tumor in the liver there. this is the one a couple of weeks ago. now we can hardly see these as hardly anything abnormal there. but it has also been sustained for a long period of time. >> that is very encouraging. >> it is extremely encouraging. it is a quite remarkable
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response, and it is no doubt due to the effects of t-cells in his body. i think the body shows us that if we get this right, we should be able to get the on a reproducible -- probably not in every patient, but in a high proportion of patients. i think we do need to do more trials to test that and probably to improve the process further. >> how do you feel after seeing professor hawkins today? >> very good, actually. very good. it was enlightening to see what he did, and it has given me a bit of a boost, really, because i know now -- i have always known that thereatment is working, but to actually see it on the screen is very, very encouraging. >> his tumor has not gone, but stan is now in long-term remission.
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ben is on his way to undergo the first part of his treatment, which goes one step beyond stan's. he is having a melanoma tumor removed. the team will search inside the tumor itself for telltale signs of his body fighting back. the idea is to modify the cells outside his body, then reinject them to do the job. that there is over the last couple of years have given us great cause for excitement, especially patients who have more advanced disease is because the options for them are somewhat limited still. some of the effects have been seen in some of these new therapies have been quite encouraging. they will only get better over the course of the next few years. >> angus is one of the leading experts. his groundbreaking work on hiv
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helped uncover important clues to the way the immune system works. he has been applying those clues to the fight against cancer. one vital clue was that tumors themselves cleverly dampen down our immune system. >> if we can distract the immune system that is being suppressed in patients who we cannot take the tumor out because they are an operable -- i think that is the first in a building block. you bring the immune system back to normal before you do anything else because then, when you get chemotherapy or radiotherapy, the treatment is more likely to work, and it has recently been reported on these new and antibody treatments that allow the immune system to be functional and -- when you radiate a tumor because it is a little bit too big, that the other tumors will disappear as well. >> the treatment matters so much for ben because his tumor has
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developed resistance to the best a chemotherapy can offer. the question is whether they can retrieve and of materials from his shoulder to work with in the laboratory. then they have to hope that only killer t-cells they find inside the material will grow large enough to help. >> immune therapies have made huge strides in the last couple of years. the u.k. really has a chance to lead the world, but they face a hurdle to get to the next stage. this time it is not about science. it is about money. >> it could revolutionize what we do. we use this all the time. you have a group of chemists interacting with the structure, designing molecules and going and making those molecules. >> he is head of the institute of cancer research. scientists use the latest in 3d visualization technology to design new drugs against cancer. working at the best structure at
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him by adam by manipulating them on screen -- atom by atom. >> you can work with a group of chemists and biologists and say, here is a pocket in the protein we are trying to hit. how can we design and molecule and capture its 3-d structure? >> hopefully, the killer t-cells the tumor contains are ready to travel, from the hospital straight to the laboratory a few miles away. they will be carefully nurtured over the next few weeks. >> the main hope is for a complete response, but if that does not occur, if there is some minor shrinkage or stabilization, that is a major benefit. if down the track something else comes along, then i will have access to that. >> four weeks later, we have an update. the team found relatively few
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killer t-cells, but they have grown well in the lab and will be ready to reinject in early august. while nothing is certain, he has been told the treatment does have a chance of working. -- the treatment does have a chance of working. doctors need a new weapon, and many scientists now believe that answer lies within our own immune system. >> that is all for this week. from all of us, goodbye. >> funding for this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu, newman's own foundation, union bank, and shell. >> at union bank, our
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